Practising kinship care: Children as language brokers in migrant families.

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  • Author(s): Bauer, Elaine
  • Source:
    Childhood. Feb2016, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p22-36. 15p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      Language brokering is an activity whereby children interpret and translate for their migrant parents who have not yet learned the language of the new country. The majority of the studies have been conducted among children and adolescents, primarily exploring the psychological and emotional impact on the child and the development of the parent–child relationship resulting from the activity. These studies report mixed results ranging from negative to positive outcomes. Largely unexplored, however, is the practical contributions children make to their families and to their communities in their activities as language brokers. This article uses data from a UK Economic and Social Research Council Professorial Fellowship programme of work entitled ‘Transforming experiences: Re-conceptualising identities and “non-normative” childhoods’ to explore the retrospective childhood experiences of adults from migrant families who have grown up interpreting and translating for their parents in sometimes complex and sensitive situations where adults are usually in control. It examines some of the consequences of the activity in terms of the benefits and drawbacks. It also highlights how from both practical and cultural perspectives, child language and cultural brokering could be understood as one of the many ways that children of migrants contribute to the settlement and functioning of their families, and in the process, practice and learn about kinship care at an early age. Thus, although there may be some limitations to the activity, there are also significant benefits. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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